Keeping the phone charged on the go
July 10, 2009 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Will a Verizon brand car charger ruin the battery on my new Blackberry Curve?

I have read and heard in various places that car chargers are bad for batteries for various reasons. However, the Verizon folks say that the cheap Walmart chargers are bad because they never stop pumping the juice even after the phone is fully charged. They say that their chargers, purchased from their stores, are "smart" enough to lay-off once the phone is charged. They say that using them won't hurt my battery at all.

Are they feeding me a line?

On Monday I'm headed out on a week long camping trip and would really love to have a charged phone during the drive and whenever we're near the car. Thanks.
posted by crapples to Technology (6 answers total)
i had a blackberry and used a car charger from verizon and never had any ill effect. we've got tons of people who use them at my work and no issues.

i don't know about the whole "smart" thing, i just know that it works and i've never had problems with returning things to verizon and getting refunds or exchanges.
posted by sio42 at 10:58 AM on July 10, 2009

Phones these days will have intelligent charging circuitry inside the phone, especially those which charge through a USB port like the BB Curve. The phone has to have the circuitry; a computer USB port will continue providing 5V and has no charge detection circuitry like some chargers claim to have. Just get a cheap charger. I happily plug my Palm Pre into a car charger that I got for $1.53 at
posted by zsazsa at 11:07 AM on July 10, 2009

I've heard that continuing to charge your phone after it's done will not hurt the battery but is simply a waste of electricity. This is mostly from environmentally-concerned groups advising people to buy "smart" chargers. No idea how much this is fact, though.
posted by jgunsch at 11:07 AM on July 10, 2009

Just check the voltage and the amperage. The voltage should be the same (though it can be slightly lower) whereas the amps can go over without doing any harm.
posted by enamon at 11:08 AM on July 10, 2009

If the phone uses a mini usb to charge then it wont matter what brand you use as long as it has a mini usb plug at the end. Its a standard .

Ps the phone itself controls when it gets charged and when it stops the flow not the charger.
posted by majortom1981 at 12:27 PM on July 10, 2009

zsazsa and majortom are correct.

The only caveat is that some phones have circuitry that is supposed to recognize whether it is plugged into an actual USB port versus its own charger. If it's in its own charger, it may try to pull more amps through to be able to do a faster charge. If it tries to do that with a substandard charger, it might blow out the charger.

I have a Bold, and it charges with anything with a USB port. So far.

As for car chargers in general, I think they aren't the best idea in the world for regular usage. The electrical system in a car is all over the place as far as voltage goes. A perfect, well-made car adapter should be able to convert this correctly and provide pure 5v to the phone. But this rarely happens in most chargers. Meaning your phone is subject to the same voltage variations. Batteries and complicated electronics don't like this.

Just a random data point, but I rarely to never use a car charger. I generally get a much longer lifespan out of my batteries than my friends who are car charger people.
posted by gjc at 4:39 PM on July 10, 2009

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